It has been Everton's good fortune twice in recent times
that Liverpool have been strong enough to do without a player of indisputable
quality: on the first occasion a gifted young Irishman with a magical left
foot found himself unable to break into what was after all a formidable Anfield
midfield quartet, and swapped red for blue; on the second a promising centre-half
named Dave Watson exchanged it for the yellow of
Norwich City and proved his quality there, attracting the attentions of Everton
manager Howard Kendall.
A transfer tribunal in August 1982 valued Kevin Sheedy, the owner of that left foot, at Ł100,000, a figure which Liverpool manager Bob Paisley was known to be unhappy about. Paisley was an excellent judge of a footballer's potential, and he was right. Sheedy proved capable of moments of match-turning genius, either in open play or from a dead ball. He slotted very neatly into the left side of the Everton midfield, bringing variety and imagination to the Goodison attack Gary Lineker in particular profited from superbly-timed through-balls over square defences.
Having been at Liverpool, Sheedy could of course play the passing game and linked up well with the likes of Reid and Bracewell in the all-conquering mid-eighties side, whipping over the kind of crosses that strikers such as Graeme Sharp and Andy Gray thrive on. So accurate was his left foot that it tempted comparisons with his Eire countryman Liam Brady.
In fact, unlike Brady, Sheedy was Irish by choice. Born in Builth Wells, he could have joined club colleague Neville Southall in the Welsh side, but felt that the Republic offered better international prospects. Indeed, he played in the 1990 World Cup in Italy and scored his country's first Finals goal against England. The delicious irony surrounding that goal was that Sheedy stole the ball from the toes of Liverpool's Steve McMahon (formerly of Everton!) before firing it, with typical accuracy, past Peter Shilton.
As the advancing years caught up with Sheedy, never blessed with pace anyway, he was given a free transfer in February 1992. Kevin Keegan, newly installed as manager of Newcastle United, hired him to assist in the Houdini-esque escape act that was the run-in to their season in Division Two. The following season Newcastle were First Division Champions due to the creation of the Premier League in the summer of 1992, the Football League was reduced to three divisions but Sheedy soon found himself surplus to requirements at St James's Park and joined Blackpool.
|21/10/59 Builth Wells|
|Lge apps 263 (12), total 338 (14)|
|Lge gls 66, total 92|
|Caps 41 (Rep. of Ireland)|
This page © Richard Pike & Marko Poutiainen 1999.